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[ The PC Guide | The PC Buyer's Guide | Designing and Specifying PC Systems and Components | Designing PCs: Structure and Subsystems | PC Subsystem Design ]

Other Components and Peripherals

In addition to the various subsystems and groups described in the preceding sections, there are a number of other peripherals that are sometimes used on PCs. They usually do not fit neatly into the other categories, and are not found on all PCs, though they usually are related to one of the subsystems I mentioned before. Here is a list of some of the more common additional peripherals found on some PCs:

  • System Case and Power Supply: The system case provides a physical framework for the other internal components of the PC. The power supply of course provides power to the other components inside the PC box. They are often described together because they are normally sold together.
  • Power Protection Devices: Surge suppressors, uninterruptible power supplies (UPSes) and similar devices to condition and back up the utility power that runs the PC.
  • Printers: These output devices usually connect using the parallel communications port and are found on most systems.
  • Scanners: The opposite of a printer, a scanner converts printed text or images into graphical files or computer text files. They can connect using a variety of interfaces. They have never really reached the point of being very popular in the computer industry...

Also falling into this category are what I call specialty devices, which are add-on hardware that serve a specific purpose or specialty application. By definition these sell in small volume because they are only used by PCs that play a particular role, usually in a business setting. If your PC needs to use a special piece of hardware then in some ways you need to start with considering that hardware and what it needs, and then build the rest of the system around it. For most PC buyers this is not the case, however.

Next: Key Performance Issues In PC System Design

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